CBCP Statement on Marawi, Terrorism and Dialogue

Text and Photo Credit: CBCP News

“Turn from Evil and Do Good,
Seek Peace and Pursue It” (Ps. 34:14)




Greetings of peace in the Almighty and Most Merciful God.


We, the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines, wish to enjoin your assistance and collaboration. We all cry from our hearts: War in Marawi, never again! War in Marawi, no more! We therefore call for the return to normalcy and peace in Marawi and its environs as soon as possible. We wonder whether the continued state of Martial Law, much more its extension, will bring this about.


We believe that the war in Marawi is not religious. We have heard and read truly stunning stories of how Muslims have protected and helped Christians to escape from almost certain death. Even now Christians are assisting thousands of Muslims who have fled from Marawi for safety. These are indisputable signs that there is no religious war.


Condemnation of Terrorism and Violent Extremism


For this reason as Catholic religious leaders we condemn in the strongest terms possible, as did Islamic religious scholars in Mindanao, the violent extremist Maute group in Marawi. Its leaders and members have pledged allegiance to ISIS. They have contradicted the fundamental tenets of Islam by abducting and hostaging, maiming and killing the innocent.


Dialogue for Peace, the Common Word


Join us then, beloved people of good will, in conducting intra-faith dialogue among our respective co-religionists so that our various faiths may not be exploited and abused for the sake of terrorism or violent extremism. Let parents, schools, churches and mosques ensure that none may be lured by the recruitment efforts of terrorists. Let us teach the young and the old that our faiths are meant for peace. No religion teaches the killing of innocent people, simply because they belong to another religion.


Join us and let us continue the inter-religious dialogue called for by hundreds of Islamic leaders throughout the world. In 2007 they called for peace between Muslims and Christians when they wrote their famous open letter on “the Common Word” to Christian religious leaders. How true their words were! The Muslim leaders wrote:


The basis for peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God and love of neighbor.


This is the commandment of God in Deuteronomy 6:4-5.


Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.


Our Lord Jesus, who is also revered as prophet in the Qur’an, cited this scriptural text and elaborated on it in Mark 12:28-31.


One of the scribes … asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”


He further commanded us: “Love one another as I love you” (John 15:12).


Praxis of Love and Gratitude


Loving our neighbor needs action. Let us together invest our resources to helping the thousands of people who have fled from the horrors of Marawi. Let us pray for the safety of trapped civilians and of those abducted and hostaged by the terrorists. Let us be vigilant and alert, helping our security forces thwart the threats of terrorism in other areas of Mindanao. Let us help the government rebuild the city of Marawi so that its citizens may return and restore their broken lives.


With profound gratitude we acknowledge the priceless generosity of kind donors from different faiths, both local and foreign, who promptly responded to meet the needs of the people of Marawi who have fled to safer areas. We appeal for more help especially for those home-based displaced people who are not yet adequately served.


Maryam, the mother of Jesus, is praised and honored in the Qur’an and by many Christians. Catholics believe that 100 years ago she appeared to three children in the village of Fatima, which is the very name of the daughter of the prophet Muhammad. To the prayers of Maryam, we commend our efforts for peace and harmony between peoples of different faiths.


“Let us respect each other, be fair, just and kind to one another and live in sincere peace, harmony and mutual good will” (see the Common Word letter).


May the God of peace be with you!


On behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,


+ Socrates B. Villegas, D.D.
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
July 10, 2017


Prayer for the Araw ng Mabuhay

(Note: While I was checking out my old documents, I saw a prayer I made few years ago when I was still the parish priest of Parokya San Miguel in Mabuhay, Zamboanga Sibugay (Diocese of Ipil). This is a peaceful place of tri-people: Christians, Muslims and the Subanen indigenous people. I prepared this prayer for the invocation during the annual Araw ng Mabuhay which is every January 25th of the year. I am posting it here because in less than two weeks from now, the beloved town I served will once again have their Araw ng Mabuhay)




Dalaygon namo nga Dios, Amahan sa tanang katawhan

Tinubdan sa mga gasa sa kinaiyahan

Nga maoy nagmatuto kanamo para kami mabuhi,

Daghang salamat Amahan sa gasa sa kadagatan, sa gasa sa hangin,

Sa gasa sa kayutaan, sa gasa sa katawhan,

Sa gasa sa pakig-ambit, sa gasa sa kalinaw, sa gasa sa panaghiusa,

Sa gasa sa kalambuan.

Tabangi kami Ginoo nga sa among pang-adlaw-adlaw nga pagkinabuhi

Mamahimo kaming takos sa pag-amping niining mga gasa

Kay kami mga piniyalan lamang.

Pinaagi niining tigom namo karon sa Araw ng Mabuhay

Hinaot nga kini mamahimong okasyon alang kanamo

Nga maedukar sa pag-amoma sa atong kinaiyahan

Ug mahagit sa pagwagtang sa mga

butang nga makadaot sa atong mga lungsuranon

labaw na sa atong mga kabatan-onan,

mga butang susama sa druga, illegal nga pagpanagat, kriminalidad,

pagpamutol sa mga kahoy

ug uban pang pagpasipala sa yuta, sa hangin ug sa atong katubigan.

Hinaot unta Amahan nga kining among tigom karon

Mamahimong hiniusang lihok – lihok Mabuhaynon, lihok lungsuranon,

alang sa edukasyon, kaayuhan ug malahutayong kalambuan sa

tanang lumulupyong Muslim,

mga Kristiyanos ug

mga Subanen.



Youth Groups Call for Peace in Mindanao and the World in 2016 and Beyond

Peace Advocates form a solidarity circle for their concluding activity ‘candle-lighting for peace

Peace Advocates form a solidarity circle for their concluding activity ‘candle-lighting for peace


CEBU CITY (Press Release) – On November 29, 2015, different youth groups had a small dialogue and candle-lighting in celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace 2015 and in observance of the International Day in Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The event was initiated and facilitated by Jamil Faisal Saro Adiong, president of the Federation of Muslim Student Associations (FeMSA) through his #PeaceNaTa Campaign, a campaign which aims to reconcile the history-old gap between the Moros and the non-Moros.


The two-hour activity was joined by a few individuals and organizations such as Akbayan! Youth, Cebuano Youth Ambassadors, UP – Union of Progressive Students, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, Coalition of Democrats, Carolinian Circle of Young Diplomats, First Time Voters’ Network, Islamic Dawah Youth Association of Cebu and the Federation of Muslim Students Associations (FeMSA Cebu) with its member organizations Muslim Lancers Association, SWU – Muslim Students Association and Carolinian Muslim Students Association.


“We call on everyone to take active support and participation in education and peace advocacy. In this way, we will get to understand one’s differences and one’s facts. In this way, we will get to enjoy our shared common grounds and our distinct uniqueness. In this way, we will get to realize our visions of peace and coexistence. In this way, we will get to live with love and not hatred, happiness and not fear”, said Adiong.


Collectively, they:


Call on the public to go out and vote on May 2016 the candidates whom they think are best in addressing the problems of the state which includes the peace and conflict issues in Mindanao; call on the public to be in support for the indigenous peoples which include the Moros and the Lumads and their pursuit to peace and social justice.


Call on the members of the bicameral committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law to be more focused on their tasks as lawmakers amidst the fast approaching May 2016 elections and most importantly pass a CAB-based basic law that shall really address the problems of the ARMM.


Call on Senator Sonny Angara’s stronger push for the passage of Senate Bill 2474 that shall mandate all curriculum to study Moro History, Cultures and Identity Studies as this would be a great opportunity for the Filipinos to further understand the conflict situation in Mindanao and thus would be able to help promote a culture of peace.


Call on the international community to be in solidarity with the Palestinian people (Note: the dialogue was done during the International Day in Solidarity with the Palestinian People) and on their pursuit to peace and social justice; to unite and open their arms to refugees such that of Syrians and Iraqis, and all other nationalities whose homelands are war-torn; counter terrorism by means of education; and call on the international leaders and the private individuals to be more vigilant and careful in absorbing information from the Internet as this has been proven to be the mechanism of recruitment by voluntary and involuntary of both the extremist terrorist groups and the ethnocentrically fundamentalist reactors. #####



Contact Person:

Jamil Faisal Saro Adiong, +639178237071; jamilfaisaladiong@gmail.com